Our window boxes, from above. Italian parsely and thyme.
Weathered window boxes and herb starts.
A tiny purple basil start.
So much about city gardening success lies in the expectations. Tiny city window boxes perched on shady cornices can’t always provide much in the way of optimal conditions for growing edibles, but they can offer a little touch of green and the occasional nibble and sometimes that’s all you really need.
In other words, you can’t expect a bumper crop of basil or tarragon from a shady sill, but you can expect some pleasantly fragrant little plants if you stick them in the sunniest place you can muster and remember to water them. Your basil might not be a plant you’ll be able to harvest regularly for pesto, but it will be one that you can pluck a few leaves from to add to your summer salad or fresh bruschetta or use to garnish your cocktail. And who doesn’t like a basil garnish?
Two weeks ago the temperatures soared and it’s been feeling downright summery in New York ever since. I potted up my two tiny window boxes with a few starts in hopes in for at least a little bit of edible green things. This year I chose flat-leaf Italian parsley, chives, oregano, thyme and basil and did my best to fight the impulse to crowd them too much. Like most herbs, they’re all sun-loving plants, but these ones tend to do okay when there’s not an abundance of direct sunshine. I haven’t tried basil on this ledge before, but last summer I noticed a neighbor on the same side of the street with a huge and healthy looking plant, so I’m giving it a whirl. And I’m proud to report that my little starts have doubled in size since I took these photos. Even better, they’re no worse for wear after a few days out of town. More progress reports to come, eventually.
For the curious:
Similar teak planters.
PS. Patience! I didn’t love my teak planters when I bought them, but three years later, they’ve developed exactly the kind of silvery patina that I’d hoped for.